ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. (NASDAQ:SOLO) ("ElectraMeccanica" or the "Company"), a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, is providing an update related to its ongoing search for the Company’s future U.S. based assembly facility and engineering technical center.
Since late February, the Company has been engaged with BDO USA’s Site Selection & Incentives Practice (“BDO”) in a nationwide review of potential locations that matched ElectraMeccanica’s criteria. BDO initially identified seven candidates and sent initial requests for proposal to the chief economic development entities in each state. In June, following comprehensive proposal reviews and site visits at select locations, the Company narrowed the candidate list to five. In August, the list was further narrowed to three states.
Today, ElectraMeccanica has announced the remaining two finalists as Arizona and Tennessee.
Within each finalist state, the Company has selected two finalist sites within the Phoenix, AZ metro area and the Nashville, TN region, respectively. Along with BDO, the Company is now conducting final site and proposal reviews before making a selection at the end of November 2020.
The proposed new U.S. facility is expected to create between 200 and 500 new jobs and feature a state-of-the art engineering technical center, including plans for multiple labs to support ongoing vehicle, chassis and power electronics testing as well as comprehensive research facilities. ElectraMeccanica also anticipates this new facility will generate additional, second order effects that would positively impact the local and state economy within its selected location through increased commercial activity and its business partnerships with tier one suppliers. To date, the Company has seen strong interest in the commercial fleet and utility sectors, supporting its plans for a future pilot SOLO ecosystem in the select region.
Collectively, the operation would be expected to meet the growing demand for SOLO EVs throughout the United States, where EVs are projected to exceed more than 30% of all passenger vehicles by 20401. In addition to the SOLO being classified as “Made in the USA,” the proposed new U.S.-based facility would allow ElectraMeccanica to reduce or potentially eliminate tariffs as well as benefit from logistical efficiencies.
ElectraMeccanica intends to maintain a capital-light model with its contract manufacturing partner and strategic investor, Zongshen Industrial Group (“Zongshen”), in Chongqing, China. In conjunction with the proposed new ElectraMeccanica U.S. facility, Zongshen will continue to manufacture SOLO EVs for the global market, while also supplying knock-down kits for assembly in the United States. The Company has begun commercial production with future deliveries of the SOLO EV expected this fall.
“We have been very impressed with the locations and proposals we’ve reviewed and are looking forward to reaching an agreement that would mutually benefit both ElectraMeccanica as well as our future state and local partners,” said Company CEO Paul Rivera. “When fully operational, our facility should contribute hundreds of jobs to the local economy as well as have a positive impact on the community at-large. We are excited to be a part of the catalyst for local and state initiatives to drive growth for the U.S. economy and the EV sector.
“For ElectraMeccanica, we remain focused on guaranteeing the key components that will position us for long-term sustainability, most notably mitigating supply chain and tariff risk, thereby enabling the SOLO to become an American-made product. We also want to select a partner that will work with us in establishing a major proof-of-concept for the SOLO ecosystem with urban solutions for personal, commercial, utility and fleet applications.”
Tom Stringer, Leader for the National Site Selection & Business Incentives Practice, BDO USA, added: “Despite the challenges of COVID-19 on the economy and the limits of domestic travel this year, ElectraMeccanica’s project remains on track to select a winner prior to year-end as originally planned. Our ability to remain on track really is a tribute to how well our state and local partners have fully embraced the regional economic impact that the SOLO electrified ecosystem represents. The potential new jobs, construction of engineering and assembly centers, deployment of a pilot testing program, and the migrating supply chain to support this project will collectively serve as a game changer for the winning region.”